Fermented Sugarcane and Erythritol in Food
Fatwa No: 436879

Question

Alsalam Alikom Is Fermented sugarcane Reb MAnd Erythritol halal to consume.Jazakum Allah khairan

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

We have no knowledge about the substances mentioned in the question, but we have already mentioned the ruling on food that contains little alcohol in several previous Fataawa. The summary of these Fataawa is that if the alcohol has transformed into a non-intoxicant during its processing, and this was before it was mixed with another substance, then it becomes pure thereby and no longer belongs to the category of Khamr (alcoholic beverages) since it has lost the property of being intoxicating. But if it is not transformed before it was mixed with another substance, then it is still considered impure and unlawful to use, unless the percentage of alcohol is very little, in which case it is inconsiderable.

Scholars stated that minute amounts of intoxicating alcohol do not affect the lawfulness of food, and it is not considered unlawful based on such minute amounts. Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: “Do not assume that any amount of Khamr makes unlawful the thing to which it is added. If it has such an effect that it causes intoxication to someone who consumes a drink that is mixed with (that amount of) Khamr, then it is unlawful in this case. However, if the amount is too little and has lost its effect, then it is lawful. For example, adding a percentage of 1%, 2% or 3% of alcohol to something does not make it unlawful. Some people misunderstand the statement of the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: ‘Whatever intoxicates in large quantities, a little of it is unlawful,’ to mean that if a small percentage of an intoxicant is mixed with a large amount of a substance that is not intoxicating, then it is unlawful. This is a misunderstanding of the Hadeeth. In fact, ‘Whatever intoxicates in large quantities, a little of it is unlawful’ means that if consuming a large amount of something causes intoxication, while consuming a little amount of it does not cause intoxication, then a lot or a little thereof are both unlawful. Why is it so? Because you may drink a little that does not cause intoxication but then you are tempted to drink more, and thus you get intoxicated. But if something is mixed with an intoxicant added in an insignificant amount that does not have any effect, then it is lawful and is not included in this Hadeeth.” [End of quote]

We would like to highlight the affirmed rule in this respect, which is that the default state of things is that they are lawful until there is an established cause for their unlawfulness. Al-Mawsoo‘ah Al-Fiqhiyyah reads: “Whoever reviews thoroughly what is stated in various Fiqh books in the chapters of food and others will clearly understand that all edibles are lawful in principle and that declaring something thereof as unlawful is only done on account of a specific proof…” [End of quote]

Al-Fiqh Al-Islaami and Adil-latuhoo reads: “The scholars unanimously agreed that the default state of beverages and foods is that they are permissible, given the Saying of Allah, The Exalted (which means): {It is He Who created for you all of that which is on the earth.} [Quran 2:29]” [End of quote]

For more benefit on the existence of a small percentage of alcohol in food or other substances, please refer to Fataawa 382309, 327754, 301753, and 81423.

Allah Knows best.

Related Fatwa